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Fathers and Sons

I think that every son, and especially every male writer, has an awful lot to say about his own father. My father died when I was a kid; I wrote quite a bit about him in this book and in this one.

One of my favorite father-son memoirs of all time is The Duke of Deception, by Geoffrey Wolff, who is unfortunately best known as the older brother of Tobias Wolff, whose own memoir, This Boy’s Life, was also pretty great.

Steve Levitt’s father Michael is also worth writing about — there is a bit about him in this profile of Levitt I wrote a few years ago — and maybe his work will show up a bit in SuperFreakonomics. Within the Levitt family, Michael is known as the King of Farts — not for any personal flatulence (at least as far as I know), but for his groundbreaking research on intestinal gas. But he has many other research curiosities, and it is not a coincidence that Steve Levitt’s father is also a man who has been very willing to go off the beaten path of typical research subjects.

I write all this father-son stuff as mere prelude, however, to point out this really wonderful blog post by Malcolm Gladwell about his own father, Graham. I don’t think the topic of geothermal heating has ever been treated so beautifully, or ever will be again. Enjoy.